3 leaders hired for Kearney schools

KEARNEY — The Kearney School Board hired three new elementary principals for the 2020-21 school year.

Laura Gonzalez

Laura Gonzalez will be principal of Dogwood Elementary. Gonzalez is currently an assistant principal in the Leavenworth School District in Kansas and has 12 years of experience in addition to leadership positions throughout her career.

Gonzalez began her career as a teacher in the Hickman Mills School District in 2008.“I am excited to join the team at Dogwood and become a Bulldog. What attracted me to the opportunity with Kearney was the established tradition, pride and values that are deep rooted in student success,” Gonzalez said. “When looking for an opportunity to help lead a school, I was in search of strong community partnerships and the feeling of family. I believe I have found that in Kearney and am happy to call Dogwood home.”

Gonzalez attended William Jewell College in Liberty, earning a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She also holds a Master of Education in school leadership from Baker University and an Education Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from William Woods University.

Gonzalez joins the Dogwood team after Janelle Nelson announced her retirement after serving as principal for 17 years.

Lauren Malone

Lauren Malone will be principal of Hawthorne Elementary. Malone is currently a middle school assistant principal in the Independence School District. She has 15 years experience, starting as a music teacher for the Raytown School District in 2005.

“She continued her music and classroom teaching careers in the Blue Springs and Raymore-Peculiar school districts until 2015, when she received her first opportunity in an administrative position for Independence School District. As an administrative intern, she took on many leadership roles for the school including leading the building’s problem solving and technology teams and assisting in emergency planning,” states the Kearney release. “In 2018, Malone accepted the role of assistant principal for Randall Elementary and transitioned to her current position where she has a pivotal leadership role.”“I am so excited to be joining the Kearney community. Kearney has a longstanding tradition of excellence in supporting students and striving for academic success,” said Malone. “I look forward to continuing this effort at Hawthorne Elementary. I am passionate about supporting student growth and look forward to working with the Hawthorne staff and community in being a part of this effort.”

Malone attended the University of Missouri, earning a Bachelor of Science in music education.

She also holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Webster University and an Education Specialist degree in elementary administration from the University of Central Missouri.

She joins the Hawthorne Elementary team after current Principal Annette Shelton resigned to continue her educational career in another location.

Mitchell Masker

Mitchell Masker will be the new principal at Kearney Elementary. Masker is currently an elementary assistant principal in the Savannah School District. He has six years experience, starting as an interim principal for the Horace Mann Lab School in Maryville in March 2014.

“He transitioned to classroom teaching in June 2014 as a third grade teacher and then as a fifth grade teacher from 2015 to 2018. During his time as a classroom teacher he held leadership positions such as team leader of collaboration, team leader of personalization and innovation and was a member of the building leadership team. He also dedicated his time to extracurricular activities as a coach for the high school football and baseball teams,” states the Kearney release.“I am very excited to get started at Kearney Elementary and become part of the Kearney community,” said Masker.

Masker earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and holds a Master of Science in educational leadership from Northwest Missouri State University.

Masker joins the Kearney Elementary team after current principal Brian Sloan resigned to continue his educational career in another location.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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